LENGTH: 17,639 words
This story is included in the anthology, Playing the Field Volume 2
Rory Holt is the best swimmer on the team at State U. and he knows it. Swimming is his life, and if Rory hopes to attain his dreams of Olympic gold one day, he can’t let anything distract him. Every morning finds him practicing at the campus fitness center, and every afternoon he blows his teammates away with his speed and finesse in the water.
The new semester brings with it new tryouts, including the bright, up-and-coming Chase Cohen. Chase is sexy and sure of himself, both in and out of the pool, and seems determined to catch Rory’s eye.
Rory doesn’t want to share the podium with anyone else, and he doesn’t like hearing his coach say Chase might even be better than he is when he already knows he’s the best. Chase’s attentions are annoying at first, but the more he persists, the harder Rory finds it to ignore him. Soon Rory can’t deny the growing attraction he feels towards his new teammate.
But when that attraction costs him his top spot on the leaderboard, Rory is pissed. Is Chase after Rory’s position on the team, or Rory himself?
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By the time Rory reaches the far end, the other swimmer is already pulling himself up onto the side of the pool. He turns and sits, his legs dangling into the water, and grins as he watches Rory surface. At first, Rory can’t really see the guy -- the goggles obscure most of his vision, and the water streaming down his face smears the rest. But he pushes the goggles up onto the top of his head and wipes a hand across his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose, then blows water and air into his palm to clear his senses.
A moment later, he pushes himself up onto the side of the pool, too, and flings his goggles and swim cap to the concrete. “What the fuck do you think you’re doing here?” he growls.
The guy’s grin never falters. “If I’m not mistaken, I think I’m beating you.”
Rory’s blood surges at the challenge in the other swimmer’s voice. “We weren’t racing,” he snaps. “In case you didn’t notice, the pool’s closed.”
“You’re here,” the guy points out.
“I’m supposed to be,” Rory tells him. “I’m on the swim team.”
That damn grin burns brighter, if possible. “Me too. I’m Chase.”
“I don’t care who you are. This is my time.” Rory scrambles to his feet, water splashing as he stands, and stomps down around the length of the pool to put some distance between them. To cool off. Another minute listening to this idiot and he’s going to hurt somebody.
Rory doesn’t know if the guy’s lying about being on the team or not, and he has no way of finding out until the next practice. Just because Rory doesn’t recognize him doesn’t mean he isn’t telling the truth. It’s early in the spring semester, and the coach was going to hold tryouts over the winter break for fresh blood, as he liked to call it. A few of their older teammates graduated in the fall, and a few spots on their roster opened up.
But no one coming in now would even make a dent in the rankings, which means Rory’s position at the top of the team isn’t in jeopardy, so he didn’t bother attending the tryouts. Why waste his time? He never races against his own teammates, and the only time their speed impacts his time is in the relay. So why spend a Saturday watching a bunch of would-be hopefuls splash each other and dog paddle around the pool all day? If anyone new even approached his speed, he was sure he’d hear about it soon enough.
So why hasn’t he heard about this Chase kid yet? He has half a mind to call the coach right this second and find out.
When he’s halfway down the length of the pool, he hears a splash behind him and knows Chase dived into the water again. The guy may be fast, but he’s noisy as hell. Rory stops and turns, arms folded across his chest, a sour frown on his face as he watches the water churn with Chase’s passing. Automatically he counts down the seconds, timing the other swimmer. It takes Chase less time to cross the pool’s length than it does Rory, and that only makes him frown harder.
Something twists inside Rory as Chase emerges between the starting blocks. Water beads and drips from that lean body. Muscles flex in Chase’s arms and thighs and ass. His narrow waist disappears into a bright blue Speedo that hugs every line and plane and curve. Every clenched sinew is on display, flexed and tightened, and time seems to slow to a crawl as he exits the pool. Rory knows he’s staring, and he hates himself for it, hates even more the way his body reacts to Chase’s sexy, seductive backside.
Then he sees a hint of smile on Chase’s face and realizes the other swimmer is drawing out the moment. Rory fists his hands against his sides, biting back the jealous anger simmering within him. This is his time, damn it! He doesn’t share it with any of the other members on his team, and he isn’t going to start sharing it now.